Sunday, February 12, 2012

Designing (cyber) dependence

I find this interesting article in the New York Times by Pamela Paul entitled "Don't Tell Me, I Don't Want to Know" addressing informational overload:   
The entire world has become this Dickensian series in which you are not visited by three ghosts but by eight million ghosts,” said Sloane Crosley, author of “How Did You Get This Number.” “I feel as if I see things about people that I don’t necessarily want to see, and then it’s lodged like a piece of corn in my subconscious.” Whether it’s via Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, e-mail or some other form of Internet connectedness, the latest headlines from your super-successful frenemy from high school, the boss who fired you and the awful 14-year-old boy your daughter is in love with are now in your face. Sometimes you don’t want to know about these people at all. Other times, you don’t want to know quite so much.
So, do we want it or not? Paul reluctantly acknowledges that our choice is caught in vicious cycle:
Let’s be straight: it’s not just that other people’s minutiae bombard us regularly. Sometimes, we seek it out despite ourselves. Whether you call it low-buzz stalking, cyberstalking or the unsettling new term “creeping,” people can now browse around the edges of former intimates’ lives, learning much too much about them:
In other words, the bombardment works!, which is why we're bombarded in the first place. In case anyone ever thinks of personal (cyber)fulfillment, Paul cites that,
A study published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the happier they perceived their friends to be and the sadder they felt as a consequence.
In the end one feels Paul's title could be revised: "Don't Tell Me, I Don't Want to Know."